7/7 – Re-entry update from OES

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This is from Rob at the Monterey County Office of Emergency Services.  He’s a key player on the re-entry team. This info is from last night, coming late. (Sorry, I’m tired.)  We will continue to post news directly from Rob here specific to the re-entry and re-build.

7/6 meeting notes, updated and revised by Rob 7/7 am:

Our priorities are to complete a comprehensive damage assessment. There is no set damage threshold that has to be met before FEMA can provide Individual and Household Assistance, but is tied to the extent
of damage.  Individual assistance was included in the governor’s request which has neither been approved nor denied by FEMA. The US Small Business Administration is also able to offer assistance to businesses
and individuals, but only after 25 structures have been damaged and FEMA has made a decision.  If a home is a business, we get to count it twice.

Assistance from public and governmental agencies to repair public utilities, etc. is available from the governor and we are working to get that engaged. We are also working on getting a local assistance
center set up that will serve everyone who has been impacted.  The County understands there is a substantial economic impact from this fire. We know that most residents and business owners rely on the summer
season as their source of income for the remaining year.

If FEMA does not approve full disaster assistance, we have already requested that state emergency agencies work with us in getting state and federal assistance for longer-term housing issues during the rebuild.

We understand that this is the most critical tourist time and creating a high economic impact.  We will explore options for very low interest loans for rebuilding and repair costs for business and individuals.

Environmental recovery: the forest service is looking at their portions and we are taking information from the damage assessment –  We have started the process to have a state Burnt Area Environmental Recovery (BAER) team provide assistance. It will be a continuous process to develop information on burnt area environmental impacts so we can get assistance on restoration.

We are also getting assistance for debris removal.  State and federal sources will absorb 75% of those costs.

We need the community to come together and form single voices to talk to us so we can focus on the issues as they are presented to us.  We recommend getting a community committee together to discuss issues specific to re-entry and recovery.

We cannot predict when re-entry will happen.  We’re drafting re-entry protocols that all parties (including the community) will agree to, so that no further bureaucratic processes get in the way. Our first priority is water and along with that sewage or septic systems.  PG&E is responding to our request to restore utilities as fast as possible.

The county has codes and provisions to address rebuilding which will help to speed that process along.

There will be tax relief for Big Sur victims, including business taxes. Specific tax information will be provided as soon as we know the full extent of options available.

If you know your home may have been damaged, please fill out a form  at the Red Cross desk, do a sketch map with directions to your house  on the back, and we will include it in the damage assessment.

My thanks to you and the Big Sur community. More news to come!

Rob Clyburn
OES, Monterey County
(831) 796-1902

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